Category: 2014 Recipients

Abdul Raoof Nasir-2014 Recipient

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Major: Islamic Leadership
Degree: M.A.
School: Bayan Claremont
Sponsor: Bayan Claremont 


Abdul Raoof Nasir is a first year student in the Master’s Degree program in Islamic Leadership at Bayan Claremont. Abdul Raoof is a student of Imam Warithuddin Mohammed the late Islamic leader who transformed the original Nation of Islam (NOI) after the passing of the NOI founder the Honorable Elijah Mohammed. After earning a BA in Social Science from the University of California, Berkeley, Abdul Raoof has been a lifelong student and worker in the Quran centered local and national programs initiated by and through that transformation. He studied two years at the Markus Islami Afriki (The African Islamic Center) located in Khartoum, The Sudan. For the last three decades, Abdul Raoof has chosen as a special focus work with inmates in the United States Prison System. For ten years he worked as a religious volunteer offering Islamic counseling in the Alameda County Juvenile Hall facility and the Los Cerros and Wilmont Sweeney youth camp before being employed as a Muslim Chaplain for 20 years for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at two high security and medium security state prisons.

The United States has the largest prison system in the world with more of its citizens imprisoned than any other country in the world. Within this huge prison system, Islam is the fastest growing religion with now 10’s of thousands of men and women who profess the Islamic Faith over 90% who converted to Islam while incarcerated. The State California has the largest and most overcrowded prison system in the U.S. and because of its exorbitant cost to maintain and the courts finding that the overcrowding constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment”, many individuals who have served their time or who have been deemed least likely to reoffend are being released back into society including many Muslim converts who have never practiced Islam outside of prison. Needless to say the transition from prison to public life is a challenging task.

Abdul Raoof works with scores of ex-inmates with counseling and referral services in an effort to facilitate a successful transition. Our Islamic communities have been tardy to respond to these developing trends and consequently this segment of the growing Islamic community is severely underserved. Many faith based communities have well developed post release services including transitional housing, job training, mental health and spiritual counseling among the important services.

After completing the Master’s Degree program, G-d Willing, Abdul Raoof intends to be a more skillful and effective advocate for the creation of these vitally needed services for these new members of our Islamic Ummah. The Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF) has been a major facilitator toward these goals.

César Domíngues-2014 Recipient

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Major: Islamic Leadership
Degree: M.A.
School: Bayan Claremont
Sponsor: Bayan Claremont Scholarship


César Domínguez is a Mexican Muslim with an extensive background in the performing arts. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Since 2006 he has been actively involved in the Muslim community of Southern California through his work with local mosques and several Muslim organizations, taking part in interreligious activities and text-study groups and leading sessions on Islam at churches and schools to foster understanding between people of different faiths and to promote an unbiased and honest image of Muslims in North America, especially within the Spanish-speaking population. He is a Spanish-language translator of Islamic books. Education and a mission of service are his motivating forces. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Islamic Leadership at Bayan Claremont College in Los Angeles and, as part of his thesis work, is developing an educational theatre piece about healing prayers in Islam, Judaism and Catholicism.

Paula Thompson-2014 Recipient

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Major: Islamic Studies
Degree: M.A.
School: Graduate Theological Union
Sponsor: Muslim Community Center East Bay (MCC)


I grew up Mormon in Southern California and converted to Islam at the age of 21. I am also the mother of five Muslim-American children. In my lifetime, I have been blessed with travel to Europe, Africa and Asia, including a trip to Mecca.
In the academic realm at the University of California, Berkeley, I serve as co-ordinator of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), co-editor of the bi-annual academic journal Islamophobia Studies Journal and co-ordinate the annual International Islamophobia Conference bringing together academics, practitioners, activists, artists, from across the globe with an emphasis on the criminalization of Muslims, violations of their rights and civil liberties, domestic and international surveillance programs, extra-judicial use of force on Muslims and Arabs, interventions, military campaigns, and policies. In addition, I serve as an assistant for the critical courses Muslims in America and Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness.
My political service has been as an intern in Washington DC with the League of Arab States and the National Council on U.S-Arab Relations participating in briefings at the United States Department of State, Office of the Director of National Security and the United States Department of Homeland Security. In the non-profit sector I have worked with the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding co-ordinating a first of its kind, San Francisco Bay Area wide mosque survey regarding Muslim civic participation, identity and volunteerism bringing together mosques, University of California students and community volunteers.
I obtained my B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Islam, Muslim networks and Muslim cultural production and am currently obtaining my M.A degree in Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA.
I am very thankful for the generosity of the donors of the Islamic Scholarship Fund and look forward inshallah to further serving the community in the future.

Javad T. Hashmi-2014 Recipient

Major: Islamic Studies
Degree: M.A.
School: Harvard University
Sponsor:  Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC)

Javad T. Hashmi, M.D., M.T.S. is an emergency physician and PhD candidate in the Study of Religion at Harvard University.

Bio: Javad T. Hashmi, M.D., M.T.S. is an emergency physician and PhD candidate in the Study of Religion at Harvard University. In addition to his medical training, he holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Arabic & Islamic Studies from Berkeley and Harvard, respectively. Dr. Hashmi was a recipient of the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace, and was a former Fellow of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include: Islamic and Qur’anic Studies, with a special focus on religious reform, interfaith relations, ethics, and human rights. He was awarded the Islamic Scholarship Fund scholarship in 2014 while pursuing his master’s degree in Islamic studies.

Areas of Interest:


Aamir Bashir-2014 Recipient

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Major: Islamic Thought
Degree: Ph.D.
School: University of Chicago
Sponsor: Muslim Community Center East Bay Scholarship (MCC)


Aamir’s original training was in Engineering. After completing an MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2002, he decided to pursue Islamic Studies full-time. Over the next five years, he undertook a rigorous program in traditional Islamic studies (Dars-e-NIzami), during the course of which he acquired Shahadat al-ʿAlimiyyah (Certification of Scholarly Achievement), equivalent to a 4-year BA in Islamic & Arabic Studies, at Jamiʿa Ashrafia, Lahore. Later, he served as a lecturer of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Darul Uloom al-Madania, an Islamic seminary in Buffalo, NY. While there, he also completed an MA from the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization (ISTAC) at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). In May 2014, he graduated from the MA Program in Islamic & Near Eastern Studies at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL).
In Fall 2014, Aamir will be starting a PhD in Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago (department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations). His research interests include Islamic jurisprudence (development, codification, Hanafi legal theory & Hadith, maqasid al-Shariʿah), early Islam/Islamic origins (codification of Qur’an and Hadith), Islam in the modern world, and Islamic education.



Sarah Alsaden-2014 Recipient

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Major: Law
Degree: J.D.
School: University of Michigan  Ann Arbor
Sponsor: University of Michigan Muslim Alumni Scholarship


Sarah Alsaden is a second year student at the University of Michigan Law School. Sarah completed her Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science at the University of Michigan, magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Sarah was born in Baghdad, Iraq but left with her family and travelled the Middle East as a refugee of the Iraq War before immigrating to Canada and later the United States. As an undergraduate, she completed a thesis in the department of English that examined the themes of violence, trauma and exile in the poetry of American veterans of the Iraq war and Iraqi civilians and exiles. Sarah hopes to practice law and work to address the challenges that face the American Muslim community in the West.

Sarah graduated from law school.

Zahir Latheef-2014 Recipient



Major: Management 
Degree: Ph.D.
School: University of Houston
Sponsor: ISF


Zahir Latheef is a doctoral candidate in Management at the University of Houston. His research has been regularly presented at the largest academic conferences for management and industrial/organizational psychology. His dissertation focuses on the relationship between volunteerism and work outcomes, and the role of organizational support in employees experiencing volunteering as a source of conflict or enrichment for work.
In the community, Latheef has been working with college Muslim Student Association (MSA) chapters at the local, state, and national levels for the past 13 years. His areas of focus have been leadership training, creating manuals on best practices, and facilitating networking among chapters. He recently completed his term as the chair of MSA National’s strategic planning committee, an effort that resulted in reforms to the organization’s mission/vision and governance model. He has also been active with his local masjid, serving as the Education Director last year.
Zahir hopes to merge his activism with his training in organizational behavior and research methods. With Allah’s Help, he aspires to advance our community by applying the organizational sciences to better our institutions and provide research-based solutions to our challenges.

Zahir graduated and is an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Houstan-Downtown.

Irteza Binte-Farid-2014 Recipient

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Major: Education Policy and Management
Degree: M.A.
School: Stanford University
Sponsor: Syed Ibrahim Memorial fund  for the Greater Boston Region


Irteza Binte-Farid graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science. Originally from Bangladesh and having grown up in Charlottesville, Virginia, Irteza is proud to be a Bengali Muslim American.
Irteza’s passion for history and politics motivated her to co-found Avicenna, the Stanford Journal of Muslim Affairs ( Avicenna hopes to promote further academic discussion about issues pertaining to Muslims around the world, in all academic fields. Along with being the Editor of Avicenna for two years, Irteza also studied abroad in Capetown and Oxford, experiences which shaped her view on education policy, particularly in the case of disadvantaged communities. Irteza also presented her research on “Teacher Education Residency Programs” before the Senate HELP Committee when she took an education policy course through the Stanford in Washington internship program. Her interests in issues of college access, educational equity, and multiculturalism prompted Irteza to join a Master’s Program in Education Policy and Management in the Harvard Graduate School of Education starting in the Fall of 2014. Following her Master’s, Irteza hopes to pursue a career as a University Dean and as a policy expert in the field of higher education.

Since receiving the ISF Scholarship, I have been lucky enough to complete my Master’s program in Education Policy and Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  I had the opportunity to help organize the Alumni of Color Conference, which addressed issues of race, inequality, education access, religious freedom, and multiculturalism.  I also served as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as well as working at the Freshman Dean’s Office on the “Purpose and Values of Education” special project website.  I also was proud to serve as the co-editor of ALANA, the Education School’s Art and Literary magazine, though which I helped represented the Muslim American voice. Finally, I served on the Class Gift Committee and served as an active member of the Muslim community within the Greater Boston area. After completing the Master’s program, I will be starting a PhD program in the Education, Culture, and Society Department in the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in the Fall 2015.

Mohamad M. Jarada-2014 Recipient

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Major: Islamic Studies
Degree: M.A.
School: Harvard Divinity School
Sponsor: ISF


Mohamad Marwan Jarada is the son of Palestinian immigrants from Gaza. As a first generation college student, he will begin his Masters at Harvard Divinity School where he will hone his curiosities in Islamic Studies, Arabic literature, and Theology and Philosophy in a variety of traditions. Prior to Harvard, Mohamad studied Anthropology, along with other disciplines, at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with highest honors, and completed his senior honor’s thesis, titled: “Dwelling Within Limits: Between Muslim and American and Islam and America.” His interests concern the spectrum of the Islamic religious sciences, as well as their relation to both western and eastern philosophies and theologies.

Tasnim Motala-2014 Recipient

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Major: Law
Degree: J.D.
School: Yale Law School
Sponsor: Ghobarah-Naqvi Scholarship in Law


Tasnim Motala is a rising second year at Yale Law School. She is interested in international human rights, litigation, international law, and civil liberties.

Tasnim graduated from Yale College in 2012 with distinctions in Political Science and Ethnicity Race and Migration. She also holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Cape Town. She has interned for the South African Human Rights Commission, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and has worked in pro-bono criminal defense.

While in law school, Tasnim has worked to end the indefinite detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Bagram, Afghanistan. She assists with habeas counsel for over twenty detainees in Guantanamo Bay. She has also pursued international advocacy strategies on behalf of detainees held by the U.S. in Bagram. Tasnim serves as an editor for the Yale Journal of International Law and the Yale Law and Policy Review.

Tasnim graduated in May, 2016.